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Witness of fatal Mount Lemmon crash speaks

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TUCSON (KVOA) - This past weekend, Laura Rodriguez was identified as the woman who died in a crash this weekend while heading down Mount Lemmon.

Miraculously, her 2-year-old daughter survived after being ejected from the vehicle.

Kallee Hulings, who witnessed the crash, says she was the third car in line when they suddenly saw the vehicle coming from the opposite direction cut across their lane.

The vehicle hit the side of the mountain and begin to roll about 500 yards down from where the road was.

"As I was calling 911 we started hearing the baby scream," said Hulings.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department says 42-year-old Laura Rodriguez was driving southbound on Catalina highway when she swerved to the other side of the road and drove off the side of the mountain.

Both her and her young daughter were ejected from the vehicle. Hulings' husband and another couple who was there both made their way down the mountain.

"My husband chased the vehicle down the mountain and the couple ended up going to get the baby," she said. "She yelled back up to me that the baby was fine but the baby was not."

According to Hulings, the child got away from the accident with only scratches.

PCSD says that no child restraints or seat belts were used at the time of the crash. Considering that, Hulings says the child surviving is nothing short of a miracle.

"I don't know how else to explain it, I don't know how she survived but she did," she said. "So I feel like this world's got a plan for her."

When she heard the child scream Hulings said she panicked. She says the couple that went to get the 2-year-old are heroes.

"Them being there and being able to go get the baby really made me feel better because I know that the baby was gonna be okay," said Hulings.

The family of Laura Rodriguez now has to deal with her loss, and the child will now grow up without her mother.

Hulings hopes that this tragic event won't burden the young child as she grows up to live her own life.

"It's not something I wish on any family. I just really hope that little girl finds peace and that she can grow up and not have this weight over her head," said Hulings.

The child was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries and is currently in the department of child services custody.

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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